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World Cup Reads: International Soccer Stories

December 2022

Soccer players and a referee in action at a packed stadium
Uruguay and Costa Rica match at the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Danilo Borges/Portal da Copa, CC BY 3.0 BR, via Wikimedia Commons

The 2022 World Cup is in full swing this month, and we’ve taken the opportunity to round up some of our favorite soccer-related pieces from the WWB archive. We hope you’ll steal a moment or two between matches to enjoy the stories, essays, and poetry below.

Lionel Messi kicking a ball
Jimmy Baikovicius from Montevideo, Uruguay, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Woman Striker Has Killer Left Foot
By Réka Mán-Várhegyi
One sweltering summer morning, I wake up to find I’m Lionel Messi.
Translated from Hungarian by Owen Good
Drawings on a Soccer Ball
By Andrei Sen-Senkov
the last name of the player / on the german team / translates into russian as / pig crawling up / a blond graceful creature
Translated from Russian by Peter Golub
Queens Football
By Alberto Salcedo Ramos
“You’re so gay you even want to get it on with men in cartoon strips!”
Translated from Spanish by Rosalind Harvey
Haunted Swing
By Andrei Krasniashikh
Above all else I appreciate skill and showmanship . . .
Translated from Russian by Tanya Paperny
By Álvaro Enrigue
He was apt to score unbelievable goals whenever he could keep his balance on the field, something that didn’t always happen: occasionally he fell over while fighting for the ball and couldn’t get back up again because he was too drunk.
Translated from Spanish by Anna Kushner